The Pretender

Wednesday of Holy  Week
April 5, 2023

Today’s Readings:

Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, we stand beside Jesus in a tangled world of insults, violence,  plots, and dirty money. How sickening and painful such an atmosphere must have been to him who is Love and Divine Innocence. The psalmist describes the pain like this:

Insult has broken my heart, and I am weak,
I looked for sympathy, but there was none;
for consolers, not one could I find.
Rather they put gall in my food,
and in my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink.

Psalm 69: 21-22

Despite such trauma, we see Christ’s trust and holy determination to embrace the Father’s Will however it is revealed to him.

The Lord GOD is my help,
therefore I am not disgraced;
I have set my face like flint,
knowing that I shall not be put to shame.

Isaiah 50:7

As we look to Jesus’s fidelity to find courage in our own challenges, we must also be starkly aware of what opposing infidelity looks like. We see it in the face of Judas – the Pretender who reclines at the Lord’s table, still eats the sacred food, dissembles his innocence while the blood-coins jingle in his pocket.

Once again, as the Passion story unfolds before us, we can find ourselves somewhere – perhaps many places – in its lines. Wherever that is, let us pray there with Jesus to be open in trust and fidelity to its transformative grace.

Poetry: Slow through the Dark – Paul Lawrence Dunbar

Slow moves the pageant of a climbing race;
   Their footsteps drag far, far below the height,
   And, unprevailing by their utmost might,
Seem faltering downward from each hard won place.
No strange, swift-sprung exception we; we trace
   A devious way thro’ dim, uncertain light,—
   Our hope, through the long vistaed years, a sight
Of that our Captain’s soul sees face to face.

   Who, faithless, faltering that the road is steep,
Now raiseth up his drear insistent cry?
   Who stoppeth here to spend a while in sleep
Or curseth that the storm obscures the sky?
   Heed not the darkness round you, dull and deep;
The clouds grow thickest when the summit’s nigh.

Music: The Betrayal of Judas – George Sviridov

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